The push toward green technology and sustainability has been at the forefront of the global coatings industry for many years now, as is evident in the many articles, news stories and new product announcements we publish each month. It seems that North America is beginning to be as proactive as Europe has been for some time now. The focus has reached the general public as well. According to a recent survey conducted by Cone Communications, a public relations firm based in Boston, 71 percent of Americans now consider the environment when making purchasing decisions. This is up from 66 percent in 2008. The survey also found that consumers want companies to be honest about their green initiatives, even when those initiatives are limited. Nearly 70 percent said they think it's OK for a company to not be “environmentally perfect” as long as it is honest about it. Conversely, 78 percent indicated they would boycott a product if they discovered the company had made a false environmental claim.

Companies define sustainability differently, but all coatings manufacturers strive to develop products that meet or exceed the regulations set forth by the government and the expectations of their customers. Dunn-Edwards Corp. has released a corporate brochure titled Greener by Design®, which explains how through its principles, products, practices and people, the company strives to be green. As the green in living leaves is the sign of a vital, ongoing process, the company views working and living green in the same way – a continual process; a journey, not a destination.

I found this statement interesting, as our magazine recently launched a new monthly blog titled Journey To Sustainability. Authored by Tony Mash of TMA Consulting Inc., the blog discusses the reasons why sustainability is so important for the future of our industry, economy, society and planet. When I was working with Tony on developing a name for his blog, he discussed how sustainability is something that is not just an end goal; it is constantly changing and evolving into something more. It is a process, a way of life and a way of doing business.

Tony spent nearly 40 years in the chemical industry with time split evenly between the United States and Europe. He retired as CEO of the British Coatings Federation (BCF) in the UK in June of last year. Over the previous three-year period, he led coatings industry task teams in Europe, as the multinational companies in the paint and printing ink sectors struggled to determine how best to interpret and progress the principles of sustainable development. Through his blog, Tony hopes to encourage companies in the coatings industry on both sides of the “pond” to integrate sustainability into their business strategies by recognizing and praising best practice when it arises. 

I encourage you to visit to not only read Tony’s blog, but to continue the dialog on the issue of sustainability.